In my time researching Healthcare Technology, the most significant change has been brought on by the government backing of electronic medical records and electronic data interchange to enable consistent, quality care for patients across the nation.
In a bid to improve overall health infrastructure and patient care, the government has deployed quality measures in the form of meaningful use objectives, citing physicians to work in a systematic way with an opportunity to yield monetary benefits. Whilst definitely influential, CMS incentive payments have not proven to be the driving force behind EMR adoption. This is mainly attributable to the alienation of physicians towards workflow changes brought on by EMR and the cost of such a solution.
CMS reported paying out $3.1billion in incentive payments to approximately 43000 physicians earlier this year.
“$21750 is a lot of money for a small practice, in this period of economic recession and increasingly low returns, this can make a difference.” says an Orlando based physician, currently attesting for meaningful use.
Highland Park Medical a small five physician practice in NJ, received $90,000 in incentive payments after attesting and reporting for Meaningful Use.
While I may not be a physician, I can’t seem to think of this as anything but an investment opportunity. EMR is the future of healthcare, with abundant proven benefits including reduced costs through elimination of paper. Add further financial incentives and the EMR would be practically paying for itself.
I understand that making such a transition can be daunting for physicians, who have been utilizing the paper record filing method throughout their professional lives. However, EHR has come a long way now, with many established vendors now providing customizable specialty specific systems to aid providers whilst consistently improving usability.
Top CCHIT certified EMR are now available for as low as $395/month with free training, hosting, support, maintenance, upgrades, security and backup. With the Cloud based models holding the door open for the small practices, finding the right fit is only a matter of time. If the administrative and clinical benefits alone cannot sway the EMR critics, a check worth $21,750 certainly can.